In the shadow of SNCF Connect, Trainline is gaining momentum in Europe

Find the full interview with Christopher Michau, Managing Director France of Trainline, in podcast:

In January 2021, the SNCF launched its SNCF Connect application with great fanfare to replace and the SNCF Assistant. Intended to simplify travel planning for its users, this new application is mainly illustrated by its complexity and its many technical glitches. Faced with this chaotic launch, which the French railway company finally recognized, competing applications were able to do well.

This is the case of Trainline, a British company that offers train and bus ticket reservations throughout Europe. Initially focused on the British market, where it was founded in 1997, the company took on a European dimension in 2016 with the acquisition of the French start-up Captain Train, which had 1.4 million registered users and 5,000 banknotes sold per day at the time of the transaction. Since then, Trainline has continued its development and now distributes the tickets of 270 rail and bus operators in 45 countries, taking a commission on the volume of sales to be remunerated.

Trainline: Cheap train and bus tickets

Trainline is an application for booking train or bus journeys.

  • Version :
  • Downloads:
  • Release date :
  • Author :
    Trainline / Train Captain
  • Licence :
    Free License
  • Categories:

    Leisure – Travel

  • Operating system :

    Android, Online service All Internet browsers, iOS iPhone / iPad / Apple Watch

A peak of activity during the chaotic launch of SNCF Connect

On good track for several years, the company from across the Channel is also capitalizing on the opening to competition of the rail sector in France, but also in Italy and Spain. “Opening up to competition brings this extra brick for the consumer, but it also creates a bit of complexity”, believes Christopher Michau, Managing Director France of Trainline. A complexity that also played tricks on SNCF Connect when it was launched, and from which Trainline was able to take advantage last year. ‚ÄúConsumers were completely confused. We had a record day of app usage at that time. SNCF ticket sales were 50% higher compared to the three weeks before the launch of SNCF Login”adds the boss of the French branch of Trainline.

If the British company has made its nest on the rail market, and the bus when the train does not allow to serve certain territories, it does not intend to diversify towards other means of transport. It must be said that competition is fierce in terms of aggregators and comparators in the air market (Skyscanner, Kayak, etc.), and that it is just as strong in the housing reservation sector (Booking, Expedia, Airbnb, etc.). ).

Consequently, Trainline intends to continue to expand its service offering to ward off competition that is gaining momentum in the rail sector, in particular with platforms such as Kombo. “What differentiates us today from the competition is having an application that is very easy to use for the consumer”, assures Christopher Michau. Maintaining this ease of use while adding new functionalities, such is the challenge for Trainline in order not to attract the wrath of consumers, as the SNCF Connect teams have learned the hard way.

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